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frozen windshield wipers | common winter car problems | duramax transmissions

5 Common Winter Car Problems + How To Avoid Them

Taking care of your car can be quite a hassle at times, but with a few simple steps, you can ensure your vehicle will run smoothly throughout the wintertime. We’ve taken the time to list out 5 of the most common winter car problems along with tips to avoid them.

Decreased Tire Pressure

Cold temperatures cause tire flattening over time, so it is best to check your tire pressure regularly. Using the manual for your car, make sure the tires are in the acceptable range. This will not only increase the efficiency of the vehicle but also help when driving under less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Ice in Fuel Line

We recommend keeping the gas tank half full during the winter because some tanks can develop ice from moisture in the air. Even if this isn’t motivation enough, you never know when a storm or other catastrophe will occur. As the saying goes, it’s best to be safe than sorry. So, don’t run your car on an empty gas tank this holiday season.

Spark Plug Degradation

Going to work in the morning may take a lot longer with the time to scrape ice off the windows. However, this does not mean it’s a good idea to let your car warm up. Doing so can cause a myriad of problems ranging from wasted fuel to damaged spark plugs. Cars were not meant to idle for long periods of time, so we recommend investing in some de-ice spray if scraping is a difficult task.

Frozen Windshield Wipers

Do you ever see streaks on your windshield when using the wipers? This is a sign that your current wipers are getting old and inefficient. Take the hint, and replace them so as to prevent issues during inclement weather. Newer wipers are also able to handle the temperature drop better because they have fewer cracks for moisture to build up.

Dead Batteries

No one wants to end up stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery. Make sure your battery is charged and thus able to handle tougher starts in the cold. It may even be a good idea to keep an extra battery in the garage for future use. Even still, always have jumper cables in your trunk in case your battery does die.

 

We aren’t sharing these common winter car problems to scare you. Instead, we want you to be as prepared as possible and have a safe, enjoyable holiday season. So, take our advice and check out these simple things to avoid issues in the cold weather.

 

If you have any questions, give us a call at (503) 363-6888. Happy Holidays!

Winter Driving – What it takes to be safe and prepared

Winter Driving – Make a List, Check it Twice

Battery

No one wants to be stranded with no battery power and no jumper cables. Keep the necessary supplies with you, and check battery life before any winter driving. If you don’t have a multimeter or voltmeter, bring it to your auto repair shop for a full pre-winter driving check.

Fuel

Running out of gas isn’t too bad in the summer because, worst case scenario, you can wait for a friend to bring over a couple gallons. In the winter, though, you’ll need some way to keep warm during that wait. Fuel is what allows your car to run and blow nice, cozy, hot air. So, don’t let the needle get to the “E.” In fact, keep it above a quarter tank if possible.

Coolant / Antifreeze

Always keep a 50-50 ratio of water to coolant in the radiator. Some may say, “Just go all in! 100% coolant!” But, the mix of water and coolant has a lower freezing point which is especially necessary for the cold season. When in doubt, check the freeze rating of the coolant you use at the gas station or by purchasing a device from your local auto part shop.

Tires

Does it really matter to have snow tires when you have all-wheel or four-wheel drive? Yes. Just because your car is built for somewhat inclement weather doesn’t mean seasonal tires won’t give you increased efficiency and control. Most cars encounter 30% better braking power with the right tires for winter. Also, tire pressure is critical. Your tires are rated for a particular pressure level, so keep it in that range. If you’re unsure, have the shop regulate it for you to be extra safe.

Windshield Wipers

No one wants to be stuck in the middle of a downpour or snowstorm with old, poor-functioning wipers. Take a look at them as the seasons change, and replace them if needed. Glaring sun that’s lower on the horizon also means you want your windshield nice and clean for good visibility.

Defroster

Obstructed views through any vehicle window is illegal in most states. Confirm that your defroster is functioning properly before it causes you to be late for work. This way, when your local police officer drives by, you’ll get a smile instead of spinning lights.

Brakes

Have the shop look at your brakes so you’ll be set regardless of what mother nature throws at you. Know if you have anti-lock brakes or not because that changes how you’re supposed to drive in inclement weather which we’ll talk about next.

Take it Slow, Rudolph

Driving in the snow and ice is dangerous. If you can avoid it, do. But, if you must do some winter driving, follow these tips and techniques to be as safe as possible.

Use Snow Tires

Why? All-wheel or four-wheel drive are just helpful mechanisms but don’t guarantee the amount of traction needed for all bad weather. As stated earlier, you’ll have close to 30% better braking power with the proper tires.

Drive Slowly

When it’s snowing outside or there’s ice on the roads, passing should not be anyone’s highest priority. Make sure to leave plenty of space between you and other drivers and slow down before getting to intersections. That way, the light may turn green by the time you arrive so you don’t have to stop completely and start from a standstill. For the same reason, keep inertia for going uphill and brake lightly on the way down.

Know Your Brakes

Stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes. Also, don’t use your emergency/parking brake if you can avoid it because it’s at a high risk of freezing when implemented.

Warming Up Your Car – Yes or No?

Some people think you must heat up the car before it can drive well. That’s not true. These days, cars are more technologically advanced and no longer rely on the engines being warmed up to go. However, it may help to have heat involved for defrosting. If you are going to heat up the car for this or any other reason, don’t do so in an enclosed space. This will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Few Last Notes—

Always get enough sleep before taking the wheel, have a designated driver if you’re drinking, and keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians.

Winter driving may be daunting, but the necessary preparations go a long way to keep you and everyone else safe.

Duramax Transmissions is here for you, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at (503)363-6888 or Click Here to Contact Us.

Happy Holidays and Safe Driving!

Tire Maintenance = $ Saved

Buying new tires for your vehicle is an expense we’d all like to avoid as much as possible. Luckily, there are some simple tire maintenance tasks and driving habits you can practice to
extend the life of your tires.

Tire MainOld rusted truck tire showing poor tire maintenance.tenance

Check your tire pressure about once a month. Having the proper amount of pressure ensures against a blowout, reduces tread wear, and also prevents getting fewer miles to the gallon due to under-inflated tires. Check tire pressure in the morning while it’s still cool to get a more accurate reading. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle on the driver’s side door jam. Never follow what’s written on the side of the tire, this is the maximum amount of pressure the tire can handle.

About every 5,000 miles or six months your tire maintenance should include rotating and balancing your tires to make sure they wear evenly. You can also check how often the automaker suggests rotation for your particular vehicle. Rotation is especially important for front or rear-wheel drive, when the front or back tires take the most toll. Balancing tires ensures that the heavy spots in each tire do not cause unnecessary wear and vibration. At the same time, you can also adjust the alignment of your suspension, which can cause the tires to rotate inward or outward and cause uneven wear on the tread.

And take a look at your tires. Notice if the tread is wearing low or if there are cracks in the sidewall. These can be indicators that it’s time to purchase new tires.

Driving Habits

How you drive can have a big effect on the longevity of your tires. The most important things to be aware of are starting and stopping. When starting, do not accelerSky blue Volkswagon Bug with beautiful tires and white wheels - great tire maintenance!ate too fast. The black marks on the road are caused by little bits of rubber coming off of your tire. When stopping, don’t brake to hard. This can also cause rubber to peel off of the tire. It is best to accelerate easily and brake steadily and not too fast when possible.

Tire Storage

Whether they’re mounted on your car or stacked in the garage, it’s important to store tires properly if you want them to last longer. Experts say the best place is out of the sun, away form ozone, and in a stable temperature environment. Ozone is caused by things like electric motors and furnaces, so be aware of what’s in your garage. If you’re removing the tires from your vehicle, place them in a plastic bag (airtight if possible) and stand them upright to prevent extra strain.  It’s also a good idea to clean your tires regularly and keep them dry.